If you’ve ever asked yourself what happened to Nivea, then you must watch this new, mini-documentary from BET called Finding Nivea. In this 14-min documentary, Nivea talks about her start in the industry, her climb, meeting and dating Lil Wayne and The Dream and, most poignantly, how she deferred her dreams in order to raise her four children. Check out the highlights and watch the entire thing below.
Nivea said that as a child she was extremely shy and didn’t want anyone—not even her parents to hear her sing. But when she met her first manager, he assured her that she had what it took to make it in the industry. And that was enough to convince her.
“Mama, I’m out. I’m not finna live like this. I was shitting in the f*cking pot. We didn’t have no toilet. I’m out. I’m not finna grow up and be a nurse and we just be ok. I’m good. I bounced around from the age of 14-18. I went around Atlanta just singing hooks, whatever I could get. And whatever was mine, we put into a compilation of a 36 song demo. We straight to New York.”
Singing “Danger” with Mystikal
“Danger” came about because I was recently signed to the label and he’d just done “Shake It Fast”… They said Kelis was supposed to do it. But I don’t know what happened but they said throw the new girl in there. It was just going to be an album cut but then some DJs started spinning it. And they said, ‘This is catching fire, let’s do a video.’
I was opening up for Mystikal for a 35-city tour. They would boo the hell out me…I was Black Brittney Spears, with colored hair in 2002. That was wack! They were throwing cups at me and my dancers, it was terrible. I would come right back out in 30 minutes, *sings* Been so long* That’s the same girl!
I met Wayne. He called me, chile, talking about I want to do a sing with Nivea. “Don’t Mess With Man” video came out. He was like, ‘Who’s this little sassy chick?’ Called my label talking about, ‘I want to do a song with her.’ He lied. We got in the booth, he was like, ‘I lied. I just want your number. We can do a song but I want your number.’
Being young in the industry, we was relating. And we was creative. So it’s like, how can you not?
He proposed. I had a show in Rhode Island and he proposed in the elevator. I got the ring on in the “Laundry Mat” video and nobody noticed.
Nivea started really exercising her creativity, writing on her album Complicated. She said everybody was getting on her nerves at the time, Wayne, her family everything. And she was putting it all into the music. It was around this time that she met The Dream.
I met Dream and we were friends and he was helping me. He loved my energy. He said I knew how to bring a song to life. And I loved his energy and we actually honed our songwriting styles. Everything we did together, in the midst of our relationship as friends and eventually as husband and wife.
What went wrong with “Complicated”
We finished that album together. The label wasn’t feeling it but we put it out anyway. A lot of the CDs were defective and they wanted to redistribute but I didn’t. Especially, with them clearly putting more focus on the new artists, the new sellable artist, which was Ciara. ‘I know you want my goodies.’ She’s clearly saying you not gon’ get it but you poppin’ that pussy. I’m not doing that.
I hate to say it, but it’s honestly for Black girls. There was White actresses who can pimp that image. They could have been married, but a Black girl, tatted up, that was involved with Hip Hop, it was unknown how to sell that. What was that? How do we make that attractive? I was actually told in the office that i was not fu*ckable.
You have other artists like Erykah Badu, Solange…people who break through being so unique. Maybe it just wasn’t my time.
The end of her marriage to The Dream
Things ended because we weren’t necessarily equipped or taught how to be husband and wife. The way that we co-parent now is beautiful and his wife is beautiful and she has helped my life beautifully. And I feel like things work out the way they’re supposed to work out. It was hurtful at the time but I’m over that and I’m a fan, chile.
Getting back with Lil Wayne
I was trying to find my way. And in the midst of that I got back with Wayne, got pregnant and he went to prison. It was a lot! So where was the room for me to try to be a singer?
Motherhood has been amazing, bad and good. I got four. It was a lot. It was hard for me. I’m late all the time. It was a supreme adjustment. Because it didn’t work out with their fathers, I’m not finna give them to no nannies. They didn’t ask to be here. It was hard because I’m not regular. And to try to be regular has been very awkward and unorthodox and un-motherf*cking-comfortable. Like I hate it! For real. I’m at every parent-teacher conference, I’m at everything for four kids, for years. Lil Wayne and Dream can’t show up. Where is the room to be a singer? Unless I say, ‘Y’all go with that nanny. Y’all go to that boarding school,’ like I was told to do.
But I’m obsessed with them. I cannot breathe without them. They’re everything to me. And it’s all so hard to walk away from, despite what I’m naturally drawn to do. So I just give them all of me, reckless and insane. And they are f*cking beautiful. I f*cking love them. And the pride kept me at home. And I’m sorry, I’ve been a beautiful mother even though that’s not all that I know that I am or wanted to be.
You can watch the whole documentary in the video below.